Re-surfacing CDs So They Work Again.

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Introduction: Re-surfacing CDs So They Work Again.

About: No thanks.

A simple way to remove scratches from a cd so you can get your data back off the disc again.

Step 1: Gather Required Materials.

First gather the following materials.

- Paper towel (softer is better)
- Polishing cloth (eyeglasses cloth will do fine)
- CD scratched beyond playability (Easy to find)
- Can of Brasso Metal Polish.

Step 2: Add Brasso and Start Polishing!

Take some of the brasso and pour it onto the CD. Please be careful with the Brasso, and only perform this in a well ventilated area. I was making this guide at at the office, and forgot about the fumes. I had to polish the CD in the stairwell as I would have fumed out my co-workers otherwise.

Use the paper towel pieces to polish the CD. Polishing is ideal in straight strokes from the center of the disk to the outside so you polish perpendicular to the tracks on the disc. Because I was short on time, I used small circular motions similar to how I'd polish a car. Take your time with this. Add Brasso when it dries or gets pushed off the CD. Continue this process for about 15 minutes.

You should feel the abrassiveness of the Brasso on the CD as you are doing this. If not, then use a different papertowel. The brasso is removing part of the plastic from the disc not adding to it. You are actually scraping away part of the CD which makes the existing scratches smaller.

After 15 minutes or so, Rince the CD off under water and check the CD. The brasso will have left small scratches on the disc as it wore down the CD. Keep going until the deep scratches are gone, and all that remains are the marks from the brasso. (they will diminish as you continue and get an even surface again).

When done, rince the disc, and wipe it with the soft eyeglass cloth.

Step 3: Insert CD Into CD-ROM Drive and Test.

Take your polished, rinsed and dried CD and test it in your CD ROM. If it still doesn't work go back to step #2.

As you see by my example, I was successful at pulling the data off my CD-ROM.

I have not attempted this on DVDs or video console games. Please do this at your own risk. results will vary on your patience, and polishing technique.

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    176 Discussions

    I have over 1500 CD's (music) and an unknown number of DVD's. I bought them all new. I have 2 questions - 1. How do the discs get all scratched up? I take the disc out of the case and place it into the CD player. When I'm done, I put it back in the case. This way, no dust or scratches. I have 2 discs I bought that had scratches on them when I first opened them.. I should have taken them back...but that was a long time ago.
    2. I'm worried about using any of these products recommended on these scratched discs. I have a top end CD player that cost me $7000.00 - (crazy expensive but the sound is as good as it gets on disc). I don't think I want anything like Brasso, Vaseline or toothpaste anywhere near my player. Am I paranoid? I don't think so, but...?

    5 replies

    The idea is, you'll be cleaning off all of the Brasso when you are done. None will be left to somehow drip into your fancy player. You're using the components of the Brasso to scratch up the surface of the CD--you'll be creating more scratches, not less. It doesn't fill the scratches in. It is sanding it down. A splinter on a wooden handle makes the handle useless--but if you sand the handle down, you can touch it again no problem without injury. The laser reading the disc is doing the same concept here. Don't leave the brasso on forever or anything, but polish out the deeper, bigger scratches causing the disc to skip. If your disc has a scratch but is not skipping, then it is fine as is and does not need repair.

    I have used the tooth paste method. It does actually work. It's the same idea as Brassero. You are adding in small scratches while removing a small amount of the plastic surface to make the deeper scratches shallower. It'll take three applications minimum before you start to notice any improvement however. More applications to fix the CD or DVD.

    Hey guy, check out my reply. Works great. I use Maguires all the time on guitar finishes. Great stuff!

    Take the disks to a store, that does disk repair! Failing that,try searching for a special cd/dvd scratch repair fluid.

    Usually it comes with a polishing spray for shining the disks up after repair!

    I would not recommend solvents or harsh chemicals, which are not supposed to be used for cd/dvd repair.

    Toothpaste and vaselene do not work! You need the right tools for the job basically!

    Hey, thanks for the great idea. I started digging around and found some Maguires Plastic Polish and Cleaner. Just very mild abrasives that really do the trick.

    Polish - clean - rinse - PLAY! Works great!

    Take it to a shop that does disk repair! They will resurface the disk for a small fee It should come up as good as new or almost. Failing that, if it doesn't work allthough it should, you will have to buy a new one however it should work fine!

    I just tried peanut butter and it worked quickly. But then I noticed there scratches on the top label side so light could get through. I used a permanent marker on the label side (2 coats) and it worked (on CDs, but maybe not movie DVDs, and certainly if it's an executable file, then it's not going to work). Judging from other poster comments, CDs don't like the light going through, but don't mind if it hits black spots.

    1 reply

    Someone mentioned dipping disks in boiling water to "remelt" the plastic. I think boiling water is risky like leaving the disk on a black dashboard of a car in the sun, especially if the label/information coating on top expands with temperature at a different rate from the plastic and causes it to separate. However, I would think 150 F is safe if 212 F boiling is working for some people without them noticing harm. The higher temp might make it more pliable so deeper scratches can be worked on with other abrasives, and re-apply the heat in some small hope of getting rid of the small scratches the abrasive leave.

    I do not think the oil in the vasoline is melting the plastic, but maybe it is. I would not have thought it has abrasive in like peanut butter, car buffer, and toothpaste, so it might not be a permanent fix if the oil is filling the scratches and evaporating over a few days. I tried chapstick in the hopes of just filling scratch holes, but it did not work. The idea is that light sees waxes and oil like the plastic (they all have a similar index of refraction like glass of 1.5, where air is 1.0).

    The peanut butter leaves a dull shine and even visible scratching everywhere. You can see your circles from rubbing because it is scratching at small scale.

    Someone mentioned rubbing from inside to outside and back instead of circles theoretically because of the way the disk is read with the laser. I don't know about that, but it might be helpful with harsher abrasive that will be needed for deeper.

    You will have to compare your toothpaste to your peanut butter to see which scratches more for getting rid of deeper scratches, then follow up with the less abrasive. Car polish/buffer cleaner should be the least abrasive. The auto-repair abrasive might be a good start for the deep cuts.

    I wonder what telescope lens makers of the 1600's were using. That gets even glass perfectly shiny, so if you need something to be perfect you could research that. They start out with coarser grinding, so whatever they did can acheive perfection on disks.

    But really, peanut butter in circles worked very fast and easy with no smell and easy clean with napkin, although deeper cuts were a problem, so the 2000 grit sand paper if all else fails.

    I didn't try the basso. Seems like it should be strong for deep cuts and finishes up with a good shine. I wonder if it "melts" the plastic a little for the deep cuts. But I didn't want to buy it or have the chemical in the house with 2 busy-body kids.

    Brasso is a very bad idea....too much ammonia and far too coarse. If you must, use a swirl remover for clear coats on cars

    Better than Brasso as it is LESS ABRASIVE but more effective is Liquid Cutting Compound used by Car Body Shops for the final buffing of new paint... you can also use Silver T-Cut, does a perfect job and you can SHINE the CD after, they come up like a Mirror again

    You can actually use green alchohol and soak a rag or paper towel and wipe down the back if you want to do it the easy way of course.

    i would like to point out that this really does work and that it has saved my ass dozens of times

    I have polished automobile tail light lenses and plastic watch crystals with cutting compound paste (like Turtle Wax brand). I'm guessing it would also work on scratched CDs, and it might be easier to find (auto parts store) than Brasso.